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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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lives, men such as Professor Barrel, for instance, the former Polish Prime
Minister, who was shot at Lwow. Thus when the Russo-German War
broke out in 1941, Hitler was once again convinced of the impossibility of
finding any Quisling collaborators among the Poles. Animated by the
spirit of goodwill and following up Churchill's offer to Russia,, the Polish
Government, through the medium of its Premier, General Sikorski,
clearly explained on June 23 the existing position. Broadcasting on the
same day to Poland he stated that:
" ... the Nazi-Bolsheviks combination, source of the terrible disaster
which had brought about the fate of Poland, had now been shattered. The
Polish-Russian question in its present aspect may disappear from inter-
national politics.
"At the moment we are entitled to assume that in these circumstances
Russia will cancel the Pact of 1939 (with Germany). That should logically
bring us back to the position created by the Treaty concluded in Riga on
March 18, 1921, between Russia and Poland. The political and moral
significance of such an act would be tremendous.
" Will it not be but natural, even on the part of Soviet Russia, to return
to the traditions of September, 1918, when the Supreme Soviet Council
solemnly declared null all previous dictates concerning the partitions of
Poland, rather than actively to partake in her fourth partition.
" For the love of their country, their freedom and honour, thousands of
Polish men and women, including three hundred thousand war prisoners,
are still suffering in Russian prisons. Should it not be deemed right and
honest to restore these people to their country? "
It was a clear and definite offer to the Soviets, and a step towards the
creation of a positive relationship between the two countries. In addition,
it was also in keeping with the wishes of Great Britain, " a friend of ours
in the West ... for whom the Polish-Russian question in its present
aspect . . . might have shadowed the outlook " and " caused noxicus
friction and clashes ". When Sikorski made his proposal to Russia he
emphasised that a united Polish people had from the first been in favour
of a peace with the Soviets although, as he pointed out, the Soviets cc had
been continually collaborating with Germany against Poland, while that
country has never yielded to repeated German offers . . . proposing
a common crusade against Bolshevik Russia."
Poland was ready to conclude a peace with Russia, but4 a just and a real
peace * which would, to some extent, right the wrongs of the Soviet's
invasion of Poland, and which would stabilise future relations between
these two sovereign Powers. The Poland of 1941 had nothing to lose
but everything to gain,—all her territories had been occupied by the
enemy. Indeed, by comparison with the Soviets she possessed an immense
advantage in the rightfiilness of her cause. To the rest of the world, a
world whose help Moscow at that time desperately needed, Poland,
united with Great Britain, was from a moral point of view in a strong
position. On the other hand, Moscow, who had been expelled from the
League of Nations as a confirmed aggressor, was in a questionable one,